I. General Overview A. Rapid growth of industry B. Rise to power of the industrial middle class C. Enormous increase in population D. Tendency of the new science to undermine deeply held religious convictions
(continued) A. Science as reflected in literature caused a growing disillusionment with the traditional moral values. B. Throughout the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, an increasing number of able writers turned their attention to current social evils. 1) plight of the poor 2) Evils of child labor 3) incessant conflict of middle class and working class
II. Morals during Victorian Period A. Rooted in Religion B. Social acceptance depended on conformity to rigid ideals C. Education instilled moral and religious principles
III. Society A. Class distinction was apparent / social status was important.
B. Social pressure dictated individual behavior / virtues 1. Hard work, sobriety, thrift, and poetry were valued. 2. Regular church attendance 3. Support of missions and charities 4. Proper dress and etiquette were carefully observed 5. Obedience to authority was very important (Queen, parents)
IV. Social Ills A. Classes 1. Upper class – didn’t feel many troubles of society; took things for granted 2. Middle class – literate, good jobs, hard-working, wealthy 3. Lower class – extreme poverty; often uneducated
B. Child Labor 1. A result of the Industrial Revolution 2. Children had to go to work in mines and factories. 3. Low wages, long hours (50-70 per week) and poor working conditions 4. Children were often unhealthy
C. Extreme Poverty 1. Caused by unemployment – machines could do the work of men 2. Extremely low wages – barely enough to survive 3. Resulted in large families and drunkeness
4. Children were sometimes thrown out by parents – thousands of homeless kids 5. Upper classes were unaware of the the full extent of the suffering poor 6. Authors wrote about the poor in an effort to wake up the upper classes.
D. Role of Women 1. Women were ranked as “second class citizens” 2. Woman’s suffrage was not achieved until 1918 3. Married Women’s Property Acts (1870-1908) broke dependency on the husband in the matters of land 4. 16 hour work days were stopped because women were viewed as frail